Advances that nanomedicine is contributing to the field of health sciences

Currently, the advances that nanomedicine is contributing to health sciences focus on prevention, diagnosis and treatment, above all, of pathologies that have a great impact on the population.

This branch of medicine uses the knowledge of nanotechnology, specifically targeting treatments to diseased tissue, without damaging healthy tissues.

Nanotechnology is dedicated to the control and manipulation of matter at a scale of less than 1 micron, so it creates materials and systems with unique properties, capable of performing any function.

Areas of nanomedicine

Nanomedicine comprises three areas:

1. The nanodiagnosis

The nanodiagnosis is based on use of nanodevices and contrast systems. In this way, a more sensitive, rapid and accurate detection of a disease in the initial stages is achieved. The devices for nanodiagnosis can be used in vitro or in vivo.

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2. Nanotherapy or controlled release of drugs

This part of nanomedicine is based on the use of nanostructures that allow the accumulation and controlled release of an active substance exclusively in diseased cells.

The nanostructures must be:

  • Biocompatibles.
  • Transport adequate doses of drug.
  • Be stable until reaching the target tissue.

3. Regenerative nanomedicine

Repairs or replaces damaged tissues and organs applying nanotechnology. As a result, it is possible to stimulate the repairing mechanisms of the human body.

Nowadays, theranic systems are being developed, which combine in the same nanoparticle elements for the detection and localized treatment of a disease.

On the other hand, these systems will allow the visualization and evaluation of the kinetics and effectiveness of the treatment.

Advances of nanomedicine in oncology

In the field of oncology, the use of nanomedicine has focused on two problems common to any type of cancer: the diagnosis and side effects of chemotherapy.

Early diagnosis of cancer significantly increases the chances of a cure. One of the main uses of nanomedicine in this field is the possibility of detecting tumor cells in initial phases of the illness.

In this sense, studies conducted in animal models have revealed that magnetic nanoparticles related to tumor markers allow to correctly detect cancer.

This can occur even when the levels of these markers are well below the detectable levels with the methods currently used.

Nanomedicine to avoid the side effects of chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is a very aggressive treatment. It is based on the destruction of cancer cells and has associated multiple side effects as it also destroys healthy cells.

In the treatment of cancer, nanotechnology allows to 'encapsulate' the drugs used in chemotherapy. In this way, it improves its effectiveness and reduces its toxicity in the patient's body.

Recently, a group of European researchers has created some nanospheres capable of penetrating only cancer cells. In this way, you could avoid the negative consequences of chemotherapy such as nausea, physical weakness or hair loss.

Nanomedicine in cardiovascular diseases

In relation to cardiovascular diseases, many utilities have also been described. One of the most important results is the possibility of identify lesions in the arteries in very early stages.

In addition, studies are underway in which certain nanoparticles are able to administer drugs in the affected areas in a specific way.

Read also: 5 habits to prevent cardiovascular diseases

Neurodegenerative diseases

Diseases such as Parkinson's, Alzheimer's or even arthritis can be treated more effectively. The Nanoparticles are targeted to specific areas of the brain or tissues.

Alzheimer's disease is characterized by a progressive death of neurons. Regarding this, the possibility of generating neurons using existing stem cells in the brainor through growth factors.

However, if the growth factors are injected into the bloodstream, they can be picked up by tissue other than the brain. This problem could also be solved thanks to nanomedicine.

conclusion

Nanomedicine will allow in the near future the best and earliest diagnosis of diseases. In addition, localized and personalized treatments will be developed. Likewise, it will be possible to have a precise follow-up of the evolution of the diagnosed disease.